Agents of SHIELD 4.19 Review: “All the Madame’s Men”

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Agents of SHIELD 4.19 Review: All the Madame's Men
Agents of SHIELD 4.19 Review: All the Madame’s Men

Heart marks an episode that is light on plot but excels with inspiration as more of the SHIELD team begins to wake up.

Mission: Breakout

There are few relationships on Agents of SHIELD more important to me than that of Daisy’s with May and Coulson. Seeing her at odds with May, in particular, is a hard watch. That’s why I’m grateful to see May’s eyes begin to open.

Not yet her true self, but her true morality awakening. Seeing her work with Daisy again was like old times and their escape was epic. The gunplay, use of squibs and acrobatics was a stand-out moment of All the Madame’s Men. Frantic yet precise, culminating in an Indiana Jones sword fight/gunfight moment between Daisy and Aida.

Agents of SHIELD 4.19 Review: All the Madame's Men
Agents of SHIELD, All the Madame’s Men

Death Becomes Him

Constant reminders from Simmons on the malleability in the Framework, that it’s just code and nothing more, makes it easy to overlook Mace’s sacrifice. Having been under HYDRA’s watchful eye while Mace went out a hero, Daisy learned from May after their escape.

Last week was heavy, but characters haven’t been given time for grieving within this storyline. Seeing Daisy react to the news, whispering “We lost one,” finally made it tangible.

Alternative Facts

Make no bones about it, a huge part of tonight’s episode was focused on propaganda helping to bend society’s collective knee. Bakshi was straight-up a caricature of a certain real-world former television host recently making his own news. From helping his powerful friends right down to the way he treats the women working around him.

The team taking control of HYDRA’s televised voice acts not only as an inspiration to the Framework’s masses. It also serves as a reminder to us, the real world viewer, that if we’re being misinformed we need to dig deeper. Corroborate stories and don’t just take everything we’re told as fact, because sometimes they may be “alternative.”

Agents of SHIELD 4.19 Review: All the Madame's Men
Agents of SHIELD, All the Madame’s Men

Phil Coulson; Agent of SHIELD

Upon taking control of the airwaves and more of the IRL team coming together, Coulson’s fragmented memory seems to have expanded. Enough so that his leadership is coming back to him. Earlier in the episode, he has a heart-to-heart with Ward about having turned down an invite to join SHIELD. That he perhaps was meant for more.

And hey, a big round of applause for Coulson’s speech at the end of the episode. I don’t think I’ve felt that inspired by any other moment in the show’s run.

These moments weren’t just Coulson gaining more of himself. They also revealed that, even within the Framework, there is regret. Does this mean Fitz is really too far gone; can Simmons help him find his way back like he did for her? Is Mack gonna be devastated when he wakes up to relive not having Hope? (Well…I just opened that can of worms.)

Agents of SHIELD airs at 10/9 central, Tuesdays on ABC.

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